A swarm of angry men vandalised two school buses at a kindergarten in Thane, right after one of the vehicles ran over a two-year-old dog after dropping the children to school on Monday morning.

Damaged bus in ThaneThe smashed buses at Rainbow Preschool’s parking lot. Pics/Sameer Markande

The bus, belonging to Rainbow Preschool And Laurel Public School, was at Khewra Circle when the dog, Marshall, belonging to Shiv Sena corporator Ujwala Phadatare, was squashed by it. It is alive, but was grievously injured. The school administration alleged that Sena workers had damaged its buses in an act of vengeance, but the corporator rubbished the allegations as baseless.

No one was aboard the bus when the mob shattered the windscreen and window panes of the buses in the school’s parking lot. B Choudhary, senior inspector at the Kapurbawdi police station, said, “Both the parties registered a complaint on Monday evening. While the school has complained about a crowd creating chaos and damaging school property, the other side has complained about their dog being hurt in the accident.”

The spokesperson for the preschool, Amrita Pereira, said, “The dog came in front of the bus suddenly, and the driver was not in a position to press the emergency brakes, mainly because there were kids aboard. So, he decided to bring them to school. When he parked the bus and was about to get out, he saw a mob, which came charging and started hammering at the bus. Nilesh Phadatare (the corporator’s son) and his men started abusing our trustees as well. However, at that point our main concern was to take care of our little kids.”

Dogged love
Denying all the allegations, corporator Phadatare said that the incident had happened too early in the morning for her party’s workers to go and kick up such a fuss. She said the damage was caused by the school authorities themselves. Phadatare, who lives in an apartment building near the school, said, “My dog was down for a bath when he ran out of the gate, and was run over by the bus.

Corporator Ujwala PhadatareCorporator Ujwala Phadatare

If the driver was not at fault, he should have waited, instead of running away from the site. Marshall has been with us from the time he was three days old. Obviously, his injuries have saddened us a lot. However, my concern is that this could happen to anyone and, therefore, it’s important that the school authorities are more cautious.”

Nilesh Phadatare and the other accused have been charged under IPC sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly with offence committed in prosecution of common object), 336 (endangering life or safety of others), 427 (mischief), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation). The bus driver, on the other hand, was booked under sections 279 (rash driving) and 429 (mischief by maiming or killing animal).